Age-related macular degeneration

This text provides information in simple language on the topic: age-related macular degeneration.

Video: What Happens In AMD What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. This is a severe visual impairment.

The macula is a specific region of the retina. The retina is inside the eye. With the help of the macula we can see clearly. Most of the photoreceptor cells are in the macula. With the photoreceptor cells we can see faces and objects clearly, for example. And with the photoreceptors we can recognize colors.

Macular degeneration is common in people over the age of 60. This is why one speaks of age-related macular degeneration. Degeneration is the technical term for: regression.

The picture shows: The macula is a region of the retina. With the help of the macula we can see clearly.

© W & B / Szczesny / arr. Neisel

What happens with macular degeneration?

In the case of macular degeneration, the photoreceptor cells on the retina die.

There are two forms of macular degeneration:

  • wet macular degeneration
  • dry macular degeneration

In wet macular degeneration, new vessels grow under the macula. The new vessels are less stable than the old vessels. Therefore, blood can leak out through the new vessels. Sometimes the macula can also swell. The macula can then also stand out.

Does the macula stand out? Then photoreceptor cells die and the macula becomes scarred. Affected people can then no longer see clearly. And affected people can then no longer see in color.

There are photoreceptor cells in the macula and there are photoreceptor cells outside the macula. The photoreceptor cells outside the macula perceive contrasts between light and dark. These photoreceptors also perceive outlines and help with orientation in the dark. These photoreceptor cells are not affected by macular degeneration. Therefore, affected people can still perceive contrasts, outlines and movements.

In dry macular degeneration, small particles are deposited on the macula. The particles are yellow-white and are called drusen. Drusen are the precursor to dry macular degeneration.

Older people sometimes lack a certain protein. Therefore, drusen can develop in these elderly people. Are the Druze getting bigger? Then photoreceptor cells can die. An affected person can then no longer see as well.

Video: what happens with an AMD?

What Causes Macular Degeneration?

Some of the causes of macular degeneration include:

  • Smoke
  • high blood pressure
  • Disposition. Do any of your family members have macular degeneration? Then your risk of macular degeneration is higher.
  • UV light. Do you often look at the sun without sunglasses? Then your risk of macular degeneration increases.

How can you recognize macular degeneration?

For example, wet macular degeneration has these signs:

  • You see straight lines distorted.
  • You see a dark spot in the middle of your field of vision.

For example, dry macular degeneration has these signs:

  • You can see less clearly in the center of your field of view.
  • You see a dark spot in the middle of your field of vision.
  • You can only read badly.
  • You need more light to see than usual.
  • You no longer recognize acquaintances on the street.

Do you have advanced macular degeneration? Then everyday things will often be more difficult for you: You will find it difficult to read, for example. Or you find it difficult to drive a car.

You think: I might have macular degeneration? Then talk to your ophthalmologist. The doctor will examine you and help you.

What can you do about macular degeneration?

Reading aids can help with macular degeneration. There is for example:

  • special glasses
  • Magnifying loupes
  • Telescopes

Affected people can sometimes see better up close with a reading aid. Affected people can then read, write or watch TV better.

Wet macular degeneration cannot be cured. The wet macular degeneration can, however, be slowed down. Sometimes it can also be stopped. Anti-VEGF therapy, for example, helps. This therapy prevents the vessels from growing. This way no new vessels can form. Anti-VEGF therapy can also dry out the swellings. Talk to your doctor. The doctor will give you more information about anti-VEGF therapy.

You can do something about dry macular degeneration yourself, such as:

  • Regular exercise. How to keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
  • Healthy eating. This is how to keep your weight within the normal range.
  • High-dose food supplements.Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend dietary supplements.

How can you prevent macular degeneration?

Would you like to prevent macular degeneration? Then watch out for these things:

Have your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist.

  • Take the Amsler grid test from time to time. You can find this test here.
  • Never look at the sun without sunglasses.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Do not smoke.

Where can you get more information?

Would you like to read more about age-related macular degeneration? You can find more information about age-related macular degeneration here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.